Young Adult Literature

Your Picks for Best 2020 YA Books

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Kelly Jensen


Kelly is a former librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She's the editor/author of (DON'T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book, BODY TALK, will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Instagram @heykellyjensen.

This post was originally published in our YA newsletter, What’s Up in YA. Sign up for it here to get YA news, reviews, deals, and more!

Hey YA Readers!

It’s time for one of my favorite newsletters of the year: YOUR picks for best YA books of the year and the books that you wish more people read or talked about during the year.

Over the last couple of weeks, you had the chance to drop the titles of your favorites and I’ve compiled and tabulated the results. Books that are not YA or published in 2020 were pulled from the data — there weren’t many! — and I ranked them by the number of times they showed up on the list. That’s all.

Find below your reading list to the best YA for your TBR from the year in books.

For a year that was anything but ordinary, I have to say these lists represent some incredible writing and also some incredible reading. You read across so many genres and authors, as well as an awesome mix of debut novels and books by seasoned YA writers.

Book Riot YA Reader Favorites of 2020

These top ten titles were the ones you voted as best! Titles are in alphabetical order. This is such a cool list of genres and styles, y’all.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Fable by Adrienne Young

The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

2020 YA Books That Deserve More Attention

Like the above list, I sorted and ranked the titles that showed up on this list. Below are the ten which had the most votes and which didn’t end up on an awards list or a bestseller list. These are in alphabetical order and like the best of list, it’s such a cool range of titles. I think I’ve read seven or eight of these and can vouch for each one.

Agnes at the End of the World by Kelly McWilliams — I’m including a note here from one of the readers who said this had one of the best Type I Diabetes representations they’ve seen.

Be Not Far from Me by Mindy McGinnis

Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown

Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith

The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune

Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson

My Eyes are Up Here by Laura Zimmermann — Chiming in to say yes! I wrote a piece about this over on Book Riot because this book really landed with me.

Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles

The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert

What I Carry by Jennifer Longo

Thanks to everyone who dropped a title or two into the survey, as this is such a fabulous list for anyone who loves — or wants to start to dip into — YA books. I hope you find a new-to-you read here you can fall for.

Stay well and keep on reading.